WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS
The effect of WELCHOL on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality has not been determined.
Serum Triglycerides (TG)
WELCHOL, like other bile acid sequestrants, can increase serum TG concentrations.
WELCHOL had small effects on serum TG (median increase 5% compared to placebo) in trials of patients with primary hyperlipidemia [See Adverse Reactions and Clinical Studies ].
In clinical trials in patients with type 2 diabetes, greater increases in TG levels occurred when WELCHOL was used in combination with sulfonylureas (median increase 18% compared to placebo in combination with sulfonylureas) and when WELCHOL was used in combination with insulin (median increase 22% compared to placebo in combination with insulin) [See Adverse Reactions and Clinical Studies ]. Hypertriglyceridemia of sufficient severity can cause acute pancreatitis. The long-term effect of hypertriglyceridemia on the risk of coronary artery disease is uncertain. In patients with type 2 diabetes, the effect of WELCHOL on LDL-C levels may be attenuated by WELCHOL’s effects on TG levels and a smaller reduction in non-HDL-C compared to the reduction in LDL-C. Caution should be exercised when treating patients with TG levels greater than 300 mg/dL. Because most patients in the WELCHOL clinical trials had baseline TG <300 mg/dL, it is unknown whether patients with more uncontrolled baseline hypertriglyceridemia would have greater increases in serum TG levels with WELCHOL. In addition, the use of WELCHOL is contraindicated in patients with TG levels >500 mg/dL [See Contraindications (4) ]. Lipid parameters, including TG levels and non-HDL-C, should be obtained before starting WELCHOL and periodically thereafter. WELCHOL should be discontinued if TG levels exceed 500 mg/dL or if the patient develops hypertriglyceridemia-induced pancreatitis [See Adverse Reactions ].
Vitamin K or Fat-Soluble Vitamin Deficiencies Precautions
Bile acid sequestrants may decrease the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. No specific clinical studies have been conducted to evaluate the effects of WELCHOL on the absorption of co-administered dietary or supplemental vitamin therapy. In non-clinical safety studies, rats administered colesevelam hydrochloride at doses greater than 30-fold the projected human clinical dose experienced hemorrhage from vitamin K deficiency. Patients on oral vitamin supplementation should take their vitamins at least 4 hours prior to WELCHOL. Caution should be exercised when treating patients with a susceptibility to deficiencies of vitamin K (e.g., patients on warfarin, patients with malabsorption syndromes) or other fat-soluble vitamins.
Because of its constipating effects, WELCHOL is not recommended in patients with gastroparesis, other gastrointestinal motility disorders, and in those who have had major gastrointestinal tract surgery and who may be at risk for bowel obstruction. Because of the tablet size, WELCHOL can cause dysphagia or esophageal obstruction and should be used with caution in patients with dysphagia or swallowing disorders.
WELCHOL reduces gastrointestinal absorption of some drugs. Drugs with a known interaction with colesevelam should be administered at least 4 hours prior to WELCHOL. Drugs that have not been tested for interaction with colesevelam, especially those with a narrow therapeutic index, should also be administered at least 4 hours prior to WELCHOL. Alternatively, the physician should monitor drug levels of the co-administered drug [See Drug Interactions and Clinical Pharmacology ].
USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS
Pregnancy Category B. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of colesevelam use in pregnant women. Animal reproduction studies in rats and rabbits revealed no evidence of fetal harm. Requirements for vitamins and other nutrients are increased in pregnancy. However, the effect of colesevelam on the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins has not been studied in pregnant women. This drug should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed.
In animal reproduction studies, colesevelam revealed no evidence of fetal harm when administered to rats and rabbits at doses 50 and 17 times the maximum human dose, respectively. Because animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response, this drug should be used in pregnancy only if clearly needed.
Colesevelam hydrochloride is not expected to be excreted in human milk because colesevelam hydrochloride is not absorbed systemically from the gastrointestinal tract.
The safety and effectiveness of WELCHOL in pediatric patients have not been established. Because of the tablet size, WELCHOL is not recommended for use in the pediatric population.
Primary Hyperlipidemia: Of the 1350 patients enrolled in the hyperlipidemia clinical studies, 349 (26%) were ≥65 years old, and 58 (4%) were ≥75 years old. No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between these subjects and younger subjects, and other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients, but greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out.
Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Of the 1128 patients enrolled in the four diabetes studies, 249 (22%) were ≥65 years old, and 12 (1%) were ≥75 years old. In these trials, WELCHOL 3.8 g/day or placebo was added onto background anti-diabetic therapy. No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between the elderly and younger patients, but greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out.
No special considerations or dosage adjustments are recommended when WELCHOL is administered to patients with hepatic impairment.
Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Of the 1128 patients enrolled in the four diabetes studies, 696 (62%) had mild renal insufficiency (creatinine clearance [CrCl] 50-<80 mL/min), 53 (5%) had moderate renal insufficiency (CrCl 30-<50 mL/min), and none had severe renal insufficiency (CrCl <30 mL/min), as estimated from baseline serum creatinine using the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) equation. No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between patients with CrCl <50 mL/min (n=53) and those with a CrCl≥50 mL/min (n=1075).